By nature, my reflective person is kicking in again today.
One year ago today, I started a whole new career. Little did I know what the year would hold for me.
One year ago today, I held my hand up and was sworn in with the American flag next to me.
One year ago today, I was not confident and very worried about a brand new journey.
One year ago today, I began a year long journey in discovering all new possibilities and dreams.
It's difficult to capture into a blog the lessons learned over the last year and the depth of growth I have experienced. But I want to attempt to do this, because this last year has been one of the most significant in my life long journey.
This last year, I have stepped out of my comfort zone and into new territories I never imagined possible.
One year ago today, I began my job at the marathon office. But for me, while it's been an avenue of exploration and learning, and diving into a world of something about which I am passionate, the year's journey has been even more so about learning about myself and believing in who I am.
The year has seen its changes, that's for sure. I was happier than I had ever felt starting the job a year ago. I felt new dreams rising in me and new possibilities at my fingertips. In leaving coffee world, I began to believe in myself in a whole new way, like i never had before. I found myself saying quite often in the coffee world, "I'm just a barsita..." and when I switched over to what was to become a career path for me, and not just a job, I found myself hungry to learn and excited to do the most menial tasks. I went from knowing very little on computers, to a growing knowledge of how to do things (mind you, this is still very much a growing experience for me... I am constantly learning how to reconfigure things and do tasks on the computer).
I have had the opportunity to step out on my own in new ways I'd never been able to do before (i.e.- travel.) and in so doing, I have discovered things about myself which I enjoy, things that are hard to discover when in the role of mom and wife every day. (Not to say it makes me less of those roles, more to say that in stepping out on my own, it's helped me discover things that I'd never been able to learn because I have been in the role of wife/mom since age 19, and thus, never really learned things about my own self....)
I have made new friends, met lots of crazy runners, developed relationships that were unexpected, and have had conversations that will stick with me for a lifetime.
I have learned what office dynamics are like and how to navigate them, especially in a smaller environment.
In coffee world, I dealt with a number of personalities, but it's different to have a short encounter than it is to have an every day, closely knit encounter with 5 others. Having an office environment is often times like a marriage relationship, because you spend as much time with those people as you do with a spouse, whether you like it or not. I have learned about trust, about love, about stress, about laughter and about letting go. Each person teaches me something about life. Without giving names, here are a few key valuable things I have taken away from some of my close office encounters:
- It's good to be true to who you are. Be comfortable in your skin. No matter if it's weird or socially awkward or proud or self sufficient... being who you are and loving that is important.
- Trust. You can't trust everyone. I am by nature a very trusting person. I hate that the skepticism now sits in me a little bit, but sometimes the guard has to be up... and that's ok. It's not a bad thing. But, when trust is established, it's beautiful. And it's a gift. One that lasts.
- Laughter is the best medicine. Being silly has its appropriate times, but laughter heals. And it's good.
- The value of an honest, encouraging word goes a very long way. Some conversations stand the test of time. And when said with true meaning, the depth it carries goes far deeper than the person saying it might ever know.
- Honesty. This goes with the above statement a little bit, but honesty is so important. Even if it hurts at times. Approaching a person, whether its a hard conversation or a sincere loving one, done with honesty, has value that is often lost in this society. It's rare to find a person with whom you can always be honest. And they can in return. To find that is a gift.
People have come and gone through my experience over the last year, but there has been lessons laced throughout that have strengthened me and pushed me to be a better me. For the first time in my adult years, I finally began to embrace this. I pushed through insecurities and into new found gifts. I have learned to depend less on others. I have discovered characteristics in me I didn't know existed, and I continue to do this.
A few key people have played a large part in this year... RA, KA, MN.... closely knit into my every day world like never before, with the office environment and the travel experiences and the trusting conversations. People who have at times pushed me to be better by being at my side, or at times pushed me with words that were hard to hear, but necessary. They have mentored me through this first year of my career as much as facilitating my personal growth, desiring the best for me, loving me when I was unlovable (and trust me, in an every day environment, this likely happens more often than I'd care to admit) telling me the hard words, and staying by my side, even if they did not agree with my decisions... or being my support system when difficult decisions were being made.
Those people have listened to endless comments of me pushing through insecurities and fears, endured me talking about my race endlessly, encouraged my crazy dreams and aspirations, and helped me discover things I truly want in life... who I truly am.
They've been proud of me and frustrated with me, but loved me all the while. They have each played a large part in what the last years growth has been.
I love my job so much. It has had its days where I have felt insignificant or dumb, but those moments have taught me more than the ones where I felt successful. I have learned failing is ok, because through that often come the greatest successes. I have learned when to stay quiet and when to speak my mind. I have learned that what I think might be the best plan for me is not always God's plan for me.
The last year, the one which has been full of new beginnings for me, has been a roller coaster I would ride over and over.
I struggle to adequately capture how much I have learned and grown. But I am so thankful for each person who has played a part... and excited to see what the next year might bring.
Some snapshots from the last year....